February 2012

In the Company of Solitude

In the preface to In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Epidemic, Michael Klein admits “When Michael Braziller of Persea Books asked me to edit this anthology, my immediate thought was, I can't. I can't read another word about AIDS...I just didn't think I could bear reading more testimony in this particular historical transcript.” It's a brave admission, and it sets the tone for the rest of the book.

In the Company of My Solitude was published in 1995. Consequently, many of the pieces in it were at least conceived before the full possibilities of long-term survivorship possibilities were known and the book provides an interesting insight into those moments of real fatigue that were so present in what one activist called “the last years of the worst years” of the epidemic.

Like People in History

Felice Picano's epicesque novel Like People in History is not a simple novel about HIV/AIDS. Well, not exactly. It's not simply a caregiving story, or simply a dying lover story. Instead, it is a novel about some individual stories of intertwined lives lived within the gay men's community over a period of thirty years, set against a backdrop of changing political conditions, with the coming epidemic foreshadowed throughout.